POWELL 9.77(AGAIN) Iaaf Cover

Sun shines on Powell’s World record equalling 9.77 in Gateshead – IAAF World Athletics Tour

Sunday 11 June 2006
Gateshead, UK - Surely, no-one could have predicted this – not Asafa Powell, not the meeting’s organisers, and certainly not Justin Gatlin. World 100m records don’t get set in Britain, and definitely not in Gateshead.

But that’s what happened at the Norwich Union British Grand Prix this afternoon when Powell brought a glorious day’s athletics to an astonishing conclusion by equalling** the 100m record of 9.77 he set in Athens almost exactly a year ago and which Gatlin matched in Doha last month.

Asafa Powell on his way to 9.77 World record equalling run in Gateshead 100m
(Getty Images)

The two were scheduled to clash here for the first time since last summer until Gatlin – the World and Olympic champion – withdrew a few weeks ago claiming that a race against Powell wasn’t in his agreement. Rumours suggested he didn’t fancy such a tough challenge in the often chilly, wet, windy weather of north east England.

Maybe he’ll be relieved he didn’t make the trip, or maybe he’ll rue a missed opportunity, for Powell and the climate conspired to send an uncompromising message to the American.

“I made it look easy but that’s how I run”

Asafa Powell crouches next to his World record clock in Gateshead
(Mark Shearman)

With the temperatures in the high 20s and the wind gauge clicking over at a near-perfect +1.5m/s, the 23-year-old Jamaican was at his imperious best – first out of the blocks, first into his running, relaxed and pulling away from a world class field by half way, he crossed the line almost three tenths of a second ahead of his compatriot Michael Frater, the World Championship silver medallist.

“I told them I would do my best here and that was my best,” Powell said afterwards. “I made it look easy but that’s how I run.”

Asked if he had a message for Gatlin, Powell momentarily looked serious. “That’s how you run a world record,” he said. “I ran 9.77 last year so I knew I could do it again. How fast can I go this year? I don’t know, but I’m going to run really fast.”

9.7629 to be exact

Eliud Kipchoge wins the men’s 3000m ahead of Isaac Songok - Gateshead
(Getty Images)

There was even a hint that Powell had eased up in the last two strides, a mistake that surely cost him sole ownership of the record for the timekeepers measured his run at 9.7629. Gatlin’s run in Doha was timed at 9.7660. But that makes no difference, they continue to share the World record.

“I know my coach, and I know he’s not going to be happy,” said the Commonwealth Games champion. “At the end I didn’t do what he told me.”

Finishing in third, almost lost among all the excitement, was Britain’s Dwain Chambers who made a successful return to the track after nearly three years absence following a suspension. Chambers finished just one hundredth behind Frater in 10.07, ahead of fellow-Brits Marlon Devonish and Mark Lewis-Francis, and quicker than any Briton ran all last season.

Christian Cantwell (USA)
(Victah Sailer)

Chambers, the British and former European record holder, received a largely warm reception from the crowd. “I am happy people seem to want to give me a second chance,” he said. “I am grateful still to have an opportunity to compete in track and field. Today marks the beginning of a new era for Dwain Chambers.”

A flood of records in the good weather!

It was a new era for the stadium too as no fewer than six stadium records fell, including the men’s 3000m mark set by Brendan Foster on the day the stadium opened in 1974. There was also a British all-comers’ record in the men’s Shot Put, and a Kenyan record in the women’s 800m.

Tatyana Lebedeva of Russia long jumps 6.95m - Gateshead
(Getty Images)

Foster’s record of 7:35.10 was a World record 32 years ago but his figures were finally eclipsed from the stadium record books by Eliud Kipchoge this afternoon. The Kenyan, who became the World 5000m champion in 2003, overhauled Isaac Songok in the closing stages to cross the line in 7:33.54 after a fast closing 200m.

Cantwell rockets 22.45m on last put

The best competition of the day, however, was the Shot Put, won by Christian Cantwell with 22.45m on the very last throw after a tight tussle with his fellow American Reese Hoffa. Hoffa had led by a centimetre after round five and increased his lead by four centimetres with a 21.76 effort in the sixth.

Tirunesh Dibaba saunters to comfortable 3000m win - Gateshead
(Getty Images)

But Cantwell produced a magnificent put to end the competition, the furthest throw in the world for at least two years. “This was a great competition,” said Cantwell. “I really had to pull that out on my last put. I think I can go over 23 metres and hope to do that in the US championships.”

A new British middle distance star emerges

The Kenyan women’s 800m record, and another world leading mark, went to Commonwealth champion Janeth Jepkosgei who sped away from the field over the final 200m to clock 1:57.22. In doing so she pulled Britain’s Rebecca Lyne to a massive personal best of 1:58.20, the fourth quickest in the world this year.

It’s the first time the 23-year-old has broken the two minute barrier and a sign of Britain’s growing strength in female middle distance running. “I was pleased to run just over two minutes recently, but to run 1:58 is fantastic,” said Lyne. Two other Brits, Jenny Meadows in fifth and Marilyn Okoro in sixth also set PBs, marginally outside two minutes.

Stunning 200m personal best for Richards

The other stadium records fell in the women’s sprints. USA’s :eek: Torri Edwards won the 100m in 11.06, beating Jamaica’s Commonwealth champion Sheri-Ann Brooks and removing the mark set by Merlene Ottey 20 years ago and equalled by Germany’s Katrin Krabbe in 1989. Ukraine’s Zhanna Block was second in 11.42, with Brooks third in 11.49.

Edwards had another good run in the 200m when she produced a season’s best of 22.50 for second. But the big surprise was the winner. USA’s :cool: Sanya Richards, better known as a 400m runner, clocked 22.25, a personal best by nearly three tenths and the third best in the world this year.

“I am really excited right now,” said Richards. “My coach believes that the stronger you get the faster you get, and I think he’s right. Everybody was worried about the weather here but it turned out to be just the best.”

It wasn’t the best day for the Olympic champion :frowning: Veronica Campbell, however. The Jamaican pulled up with 80m to go clutching a hamstring and had to be carried from the track.

Richards heads the world over 400m this year with 49.82 but the world and Olympic champion, Tonique Williams, took advantage of the American’s absence to set down a marker. The Bahamian ran a season’s best of 50.13, second only this year to Richards’ 49.82. Jamaica’s Sherricka Williams was second in a personal best of 50.24.

Tirunesh Dibaba was another World champion in winning form. The Ethiopian blasted away from the field over the final lap of the 3000m to win in 8:42.04 from Berhane Adere, and her sister Ejegayou.

Lebedeva takes comfortable 6.95m win

Russia’s Olympic champion Tatyana Lebedeva won the Long Jump easily with 6.95m, nearly 30 centimetres further than second-placed Kelly Sotherton. Britain’s Commonwealth Heptathlon champion produced her best jump of 2006, 6.67, a qualifying mark for the European championships.

The men’s Long Jump went to Brazil’s triple jumper Jadel Gregorio who beat his training partner Chris Tomlinson and another Britain Nathan Morgan. All three broke eight metres but Gregorio snatched the victory from Morgan in the last round with 8.05.

USA’s Chaunte Howard won the women’s High Jump with 1.98m from Amy Acuff and had three excellent attempts at a personal best height of 2.01. Another American, Brad Walker, won the men’s Pole Vault with his best of the year, and the best of the summer season, 5.85m. Japan’s Daichi Sawano was second after clearing 5.75m.

Francique - sub-45

Grenada’s World Indoor champion Alleyne Francique dipped under-45 seconds for the first time this year to win the men’s 400m in 44.94 ahead of Jamaica’s Michael Blackwood, and USA’s Bernard Lagat was beaten in the 1500m by Mohammed Moustaoui. The Moroccan outsprinted the former Kenyan Olympic medallist to clock a PB of 3:34.40, the fourth quickest time in the world.

Britain’s Tasha Danvers-Smith also broke into the world’s top-ten in the women’s 400m Hurdles. The Commonwealth silver medallist ran a commanding race and dipped under 55 seconds for the first time for three years with 54.85. Jamaica’s Keliese Spencer was second in a PB 55.61.

The men’s 110m Hurdlers had the misfortune to meet the day’s only headwind (-2.4). The race was won by Latvia’s Stanislav Olijar in 13.49 from USA’s Dominique Arnold. Commonwealth champion Maurice Wignall crashed into too many hurdles and finished sixth in 14.09.

“It was a hard race with the headwind,” exclaimed Olijar afterwards. Luckily, it didn’t last long. Asafa Powell and the record books will be testament to that.

Matthew Brown for the IAAF

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Powell equals 100m world record

Powell believes he can take the record as low as 9.60
Asafa Powell equalled the 100m world record he shares with American Justin Gatlin at the Norwich Union British Grand Prix in Gateshead on Sunday.
With the benefit of a slight tail wind, the Jamaican clocked 9.77 seconds - the same time he set in Athens last year.

Briton Dwain Chambers proved he was back to form after a two-year drugs ban to take third in an impressive time of 10.07, behind Jamaican Michael Frater.

Powell and Gatlin are due to meet at the London Grand Prix on 28 July.

Highlights: Powell equals 100m world record

Interview: Asafa Powell

The duo were both contracted to race in Gateshead but Gatlin pulled out, with his agent, Renaldo Nehemiah, claiming a race against Powell was not part of the agreement.

The past has gone now and I can look forward to the future

Dwain Chambers

Powell had some words for rival Gatlin after the race, declaring: "That’s how you run a world record.

"I told everyone I can run as fast as I want to when I want to. I said I would do my best here and I didn’t let them down.

"I ran 9.77 last year and I have proved I can do it again. It shows I am back to where I started last year and I am going to finish the season at the top.

“But my coach won’t be all that happy because at the end I didn’t do what he told me to.”

Powell’s performance swept aside Gatlin’s record of 9.89secs for the fastest 100m on British soil, which he set at Crystal Palace last year.

The Jamaican 23-year-old spectacularly smashed Chambers’ old stadium record of 10.06secs at a Gateshead track not known for its speed.

Chambers will hardly be concerned about his old mark after he jumped to the top of the British and European rankings.

The 28-year-old is the reigning European champion and is likely to seek selection to defend his title in Gothenburg in August.

Chambers recovered from a false start to take an impressive third

UK Athletics performance director Dave Collins has indicated Chambers will not be treated any differently to the rest of Britain’s sprinters when he came to choosing his squad.

In fact, Collins has already offered him a place in the European Cup later this month.

Chambers was only cleared to race on Saturday after agreeing the terms of his repayments to both the IAAF, athletics governing body, and UK Athletics for the prize money he accrued whilst taking steroids.

The Londoner has been training in Jamaica under new coach Glen Mills but had not raced since September 2003 and was surprised with his performance.

“I didn’t expect that at all - not at all,” said Chambers. "Despite all the ups and downs, I showed I can still compete.

“I was pleased with the reception I got from the crowd. The past has gone now and I can look forward to the future.”

Marlon Devonish led home the rest of the British sprinters, who all clocked season’s bests.

Devonish finished fourth in 10.16, ahead of Mark Lewis-Francis (10.20) and 17-year-old Harry Aikines Ayreetey (10.38).

American Torri Edwards claimed the women’s 100m title on her return to action following a 15-month drugs ban.

The former world champion streaked away from the field for a clear victory in 11.06 seconds ahead of Ukraine’s Zhanna Block and Jamaican Commonwealth champion Sherri Ann Brooks.

Abi Oyepitan, returning after a shin injury wiped out her 2005 season, was the best of the domestic runners in sixth.